Parc de Bercy
By CARLA DE AGOSTINI
One of the most evocative and unexpected places in Paris is undoubtedly Bercy Park, whose web of paths, rails and reflections of water cannot fail to fascinate. With its 13.5 hectares in the 12th arrondissement, Bercy amazes passers-by with clues that tell of a place of contrasts.
Although it was created between 1993 and 1997, it still retains much of its past: the vineyard, the kerbs and the rails bear witness to the site's industrial past. The contemporary design by architects B. Huet, M. Ferrand, J. Feugas, B. Leroy, frames a 19th-century garden, designed by landscape architects I. Le Caisne and P. R. Leroy. Le Caisne and P. Raguin.
The area on which the Park stands has undergone many transformations. It was occupied by coppice woods until the 13th century, and from the 17th century until the Revolution it became a holiday resort along the river. During the process of industrialisation of the city, the site became one of the most important wine warehouses in Paris: the cellier du monde - the world's wine cellar. Its strategic location allowed it to be unaffected by customs but still be strategically positioned thanks to its trade route via the Seine with Burgundy.
The park alternates between ponds and architectural works, green and wooded areas. Three main areas are clearly recognisable. Les Parterres, in the centre, consists of a chessboard of nine themed gardens, in homage to biodiversity, where various ateliers host frequent events dedicated to botany, organised by citizens or professionals. La Grande Prairie, to the west, consists of grass carpets crossed by avenues and dotted with trees and gazebos, where groups of young people often enjoy the beauty of the place. And finally, the Jardin Romantique, to the east, where you can admire oaks, birches, cherry trees, shrubs of all kinds, and, above all, the water features of the pond bordered by reeds and water lilies where you can meet ducks and herons.
This last part of the park is very rich and elaborate. The amphitheatre recalling the ancient village of Bercy, the Pavillon du Lac, right in the middle of the pond, is home to exhibitions and temporary displays, as well as the Agence Parisienne du Climat de Paris, in charge of the city's energy transition. The helicoidal ramp leading to the Bélvèdere is the highest observation point from which you can admire a splendid panorama and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, otherwise accessible by the Simone de Beauvoir footbridge.
With its 200 centenary trees, mostly plane trees, horse chestnuts and birches, the Jardin Romantique has a special bucolic charm, enriched by over 1,200 new species of shrubs and flowers. Among the willows and majestic oaks, it is a popular destination for Parisians who enjoy reading and going on interesting walks, immersed in a small natural paradise, protected from the hustle and bustle of greater Paris. Translation by Greta Arancia Sanna